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the Church of Rome, within the verge of the Vatican. Having employ'd his curiofity about two years in France and Italy, on the news of a civil war breaking out in England he return'd, without taking a furvey of Greece and Sicily, as at his fetting out the fcheme was projected. At Paris the Lord Viscount Scudamore, Ambaffador from King Charles I. at the Court of France, introduc'd him to the acquaintance of Grotius; who at that time was honor'd with the fame character there by Chriftina Queen of Sweden. In Rome, Genoa, Florence, and other cities of Italy, he contracted a familiarity with thofe who were of highest reputation for wit & learning: feveral of whom gave him very obliging teftimonies of their friendship, and efteem, which are printed before his Latin Poems. The firft of them was written by Manfe Marquis of Villa, a great patron of Taffo, by whom he is celebrated in his Poem on the Conquest of Jerufalem. It is highly probable that to his converfation with this noble Neapolitan we owe the firft defign which MILTON Conceiv'd of writing an Epic Poem: and it appears by fome Latin verfes addrefs'd to the Marquis with the title of Manfus, that he intended to fix on King Arthur for his Heroe: but Arthur was referv'd to another destiny!

Returning from his travels he found

England on the point of being involv'd An. Ætat. 32. in blood and confufion. It seems won

derful that one of fo warm, and daring a spirit, as he certainly was, fhou'd be reftrain'd from the field in thofe unnatural commotions. I fuppofe we may


Et jam bis viridi furgebat culmus aristâ,
Et totidem flavas numerabant horrea meffes,
Nec dum aderat Thyrfis: paftorem fcilicet illum
Dulcis amor Mufe Thulcâ retinebat in urbe.

Defenfio Secunda. pag. 26. Fol.

Fra Cavalier magnanimi, e cortefi,


Epitaph, Dam

Rifplende il Manfo,


Lib. 204

impute it wholly to the great deference he paid to paternal authority, that he retir'd to lodgings provided for him in the City: which being commodious for the reception of his Sifter's Sons, and fome other young Gentlemen, he undertook their education: and is faid to have form'd them on the fame plan which he afterwards publifh'd, in a fhort tractate in fcrib'd to his friend Mr. Hartlib.

In this philofophical courfe he continued without a wife to the year 1643; when he marAn. Etat. 35. ry'd Mary the Daughter of Richard Powell of Foreft-hill in Oxfordshire : a Gentleman of eftate and reputation in that County; and of principles fo very oppofite to his Son-in-Law, that the marriage is more to be wonder'd at, than the feparation which enfu'd, in little more than a month after he had cohabited with him in London. Her defertion provok'd him both to write feveral treatifes concerning the doctrine, and difcipline of divorce; and alfo to make his addreffes to a young Lady of great wit and beauty: but before he had ingag'd her affections to conclude the marriage-treaty, in a vifit at one of his Relations he found his Wife proftrate before him, imploring forgivenefs, & reconciliation. It is not to be doubted but an interview of that nature, fo little expected, muft wonderfully affect him; and perhaps the impreffions it made on his imagination contributed much to the painting of that pathetic fcene in * PARADISE LOST, in which Eve addreffeth herself to Adam for pardon, and peace. At the interceffion of his friends who were prefent, after a fhort reluctance he generously facrific'd all his refentment to her tears.

Soon his heart relented Tow'rds her, his life fo late, and fole delight; Now, at his feet fubmiffive in diftrefs!

Book X. ver. 902.


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